Red Sox/Pirates Hanrahan trade reactions

Joe Sargent

A quick roundup of fan and expert analysis from around the web.

The Boston Red Sox and Pittsburgh Pirates were nice enough to give something to talk about as we attempt to wade through the post-Christmas baseball news lull, completing a six-player trade Wednesday that sent veteran right-hander Joel Hanrahan to Fenway to take over as closer.

The Red Sox also received infielder/prospect Brock Holt in the deal, while the Pirates received right-hander Mark Melancon, outfielder/first baseman Jerry Sands, infielder Ivan De Jesus, and pitching prospect Stolmy Pimentel.

Here is a roundup of reactions to the trade from around the interwebs...

Ben Buchanon of Over The Monster is worried that the Red Sox will have a very tough time coming out ahead in the trade:

There is a problem with Boston's trade for Joel Hanrahan. It is not that Joel Hanrahan is a bad pitcher. In fact, we know he can be quite good...

It's not even about the $7 million that Joel Hanrahan is likely to get in arbitration. At least not entirely.

The problem with the Joel Hanrahan deal is one of value, how incredibly difficult it will be for the Red Sox to come out ahead in the end, and how easy it is to see the Pirates doing so...

It's a deal where the Red Sox seem to have given up some of those lottery tickets for the sake of swapping a shot at three good years of relief pitching for a shot at one good year of relief pitching.

And it's really hard to see a positive chain of thought leading Ben Cherington to make such a deal.

Charlie Wilmoth of Bucs Dugout is a bit more optimistic about the trade for the Pirates:

If you like Melancon as much as I do, the trade was actually probably somewhat skewed toward the Pirates before Holt and De Jesus were included...

I don't like losing Hanrahan. I also don't think Pimentel is especially valuable, and I'm not totally sure where Sands fits... But I think Melancon is a terrific acquisition, the kind of reliever who could step into a late-inning role and hold it relatively cheaply for several years, and he and Sands contribute enough value that this trade makes sense for the Pirates...

Melancon's stuff and peripherals make him an excellent rebound candidate, much like A.J. Burnett was last offseason.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports thinks the deal is a win for both clubs:

The Red Sox, seeking greater certainty in the closer’s role, made an understandable decision in acquiring Hanrahan and infielder Brock Holt for Melancon, pitcher Stolmy Pimentel, outfielder Jerry Sands and infielder Ivan DeJesus Jr...

Maybe Melancon will prove nothing more than a fungible reliever. Maybe Hanrahan will recover from the spike in his walk rate last season; the Sox believe an inconsistent workload contributed to his problems, and Hanrahan told Boston reporters that he also had issues with his hamstring and ankle.

Still, the Pirates’ end of this is quite logical.

Hanrahan projects to earn almost $7 million in arbitration, then become a free agent. The Pirates redirected most of the savings to free-agent left-hander Francisco Liriano, and they still may have enough to sign a budget free agent...

Sensible trade for both teams. We’ll see how it plays out.

Finally, Keith Law of ESPN writes that the trade is unlikely to make a major impact on either side:

The result for Pittsburgh is that they get a passel of suspects with only one guy in the group who might turn out to be an above-average player, and even that player, Stolmy Pimentel, is a real longshot...

He could turn into a solid big-league starter, and he's exactly the kind of longshot prospect the Pirates should try to get in any trade, but when he's the most interesting asset coming back to you it's not a great statement about your overall return...

The Red Sox get that Proven Closer™, which isn't exactly something they needed but perhaps is something they felt they had to have before Andrew Bailey ruined their summah...

So while the Red Sox didn't get any impact in return, they also didn't give up a whole lot, and if Hanrahan rediscovers his 2010-11 form they'll at least get a little more production in the ninth inning than they did last year.

What's your take on the trade?

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